After a terrible, awful, no good first half, the Phoenix Suns came roaring back in the third quarter to cut a 21-point deficit to just two (82-80) before running out of magic against a good Minnesota team.
Wolves win over Suns, 115-106.
T.J. Warren erased a terrible first half with a great second half, and Troy Daniels was hot again from behind the line. They combined for 42 of the Suns 106 points on the night. Isaiah Canaan added 13 points and 8 assists.
As for the kids, Marquese Chriss had a pair of beautiful blocks to kick-start the Suns second half, and finished with 12 points and 2 of everything else. Josh Jackson had 11 points, and Dragan Bender had 7.
The Suns cut it to 5 with under two minutes left, but just couldn’t stop the Wolves from scoring when they needed the stops the most.
Jimmy Butler had 32 for the Wolves (12 of those from the FT line), while Wiggins had 17 and KAT had a 14/14 game. Six Wolves in all had double-figure scoring on the night.
Good finish, Suns. Seriously. Good job, good effort.
I’d love to the say the Suns came out playing sharp in their last game before the Christmas break, but I’d be lying.
They started the game 0-8 from the field, and scored only one point on a 1-2 stint at the free throw line by Marquese Chriss who may have gotten the ball clean blocked by Taj Gibson on a drive but the ref thought otherwise.
The Wolves, meanwhile, methodically scored most every time, going 4-5 from the field to take a 10-1 lead before Triano swapped Tyler Ulis (who’d shot a 16-foot airball at one point) for Isaiah Canaan.
The Suns still trailed 12-4 when Triano wholesale swapped out lineups, leaving only Warren (0-5 at the time) with the backups.
That didn’t help much.
The Suns had 6 points with 4:33 left in the quarter.
Then 10 points with 3:30 left.
Finally, they started scoring - thanks to 18 bench points - and pulled within 31-24 before Jamal Crawford hit his third jumper to close the quarter for the Wolves up 9.
33-24 Wolves after one.
Coulda been worse. Suns shot only 30% in that quarter, while the Wolves shot 61%.
And then it got worse.
The inspired second unit hit a road block. Or, a wall. Or the Hudson Dam.
First they let a rebound bounce at the free throw line and get scooped up by the Timberwolves for a score. Then they committed a lazy turnover. Then another.
Pretty soon it was an 8-0 run to start the second quarter and the Suns did not look like they could stop anything. Or start anything. Zero points in 3:28 before Triano called another timeout. Ugly.
That’s the second unit. “Outdoing” the first unit.
T.J. Warren is 1-7 in this game. Troy Daniels is 1-5. Isaiah Canaan is 0-3. Suns are shooting 24% as a team. Giving up long offensive rebounds. Lazy turnovers. Ugly.
It’s 47-26 with 6:23 left in the half.
That 21 point margin stayed right there for the rest of the half, and it was 64-43 at half-time.
I mean, that's bad. Real bad.
Suns shooting 32%. Wolves shooting 61.5%.
T.J. Warren 2-10 from the field.
The Suns came out stronger in the second half, with three straight aggressive scores at the rim - an alley-oop to Tyson Chandler form Tyler Ulis, then a cut to the rim by T.J. on a pass from Quese, and finally a strong drive from Josh Jackson.
Wolves time-out as the Suns cut the lead to 17.
The hustle is real! Lead cut to 11 now as Quese has a pair of HUUGGGE blocks!
The Suns kept coming at the Wolves hard - and the Wolves weren’t ready for it.
The Wolves lead was DOWN TO 7 before Thibodeau called another timeout. And the Suns crowd cheered like crazy to let the players know what they appreciate!
The Suns made 9 of their first 11 shots of the second half, while the Wolves made only 2 of 11.
The Suns got it down to 5, but then began to stall in the half court after the Wolves started scoring again. Jeff Teague and Jimmy Butler really took it to Jackson and Ulis there, and the lead got back to 12. Timeout.
Subs are in. Canaan and Daniels hit back-to-back threes to cut the lead to 6 again before Jimmy Butler dove into Canaan to draw a foul.
They even got the score down to 2 before the Wolves scored on their last two possessions of the quarter for a 86-80 lead after three.
T.J. Warren exploded for 12 points in the quarter as the Suns outscored the Wolves 37-22.
This time it was the Wolves who came out scoring, making their first three shots of the fourth quarter, including a pair of threes, to blow the lead back out to 14: 94-80.
As expected, the three-point makers were Gorgui Dieng and Tyus Jones (off a pass from Dieng).
After that, the Suns kept trying to come back but couldn’t.